02nd January 2017, 12:00 Hrs
PYONGYANG: North Korea might be about to test a missile that could be launched at enemies in the US and elsewhere.
Leader Kim Jong Un has hinted that Pyongyang might be about to ring in the new year with a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. As with much of the country’s weaponry, such a missile is likely to be relatively undeveloped – but will serve as an important threat to much of the international community, after tensions with North Korea rose for much of the year.
Mr Kim told citizens at his annual new year address that the test will follow what he claims was a successful H-bomb test last year. That news caused consternation throughout the world, but the country hasn’t yet demonstrated that it would be able to fire such a weapon over any distance.
The leader didn't say that the test was imminent. But the mention of it has been taken to suggest that it might be – and it could come as soon as next week, which sees Mr Kim's birthday and the anniversary of a successful nuclear test.
He threatened in the address to boost his country's military capabilities further unless the US ends war games with rival South Korea, but he also said efforts must be made to defuse the possibility of another Korean war and stressed the importance of building the economy under a five-year plan announced in May.
“The political and military position of socialism should be further cemented as an invincible fortress,” Mr Kim said, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency. “We should resolutely smash the enemies’ despicable and vicious moves to dampen the pure and ardent desire of the people for the party and estrange the people from it.”
The address was shown on television, mixing video of Mr Kim speaking with stretches of just audio with still photos. It was less than 30 minutes long.
Under Mr Kim, who rose to power after his father’s death in 2011, North Korea has made steady progress in its nuclear and missile programmes, including two nuclear tests in 2016. It recently claimed a series of technical breakthroughs in its goal of developing a long-range nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental United States.comments powered by Disqus